This best man speech guide is for the veteran best man and the novice alike. Whether you’ve given dozens of best man speeches at weddings or this is your first time, we hope you find something helpful in this post.
Giving the best man speech is not easy. Even if you know the groom and the bride like your own family, and even if they are your family, there are some things that you will still need to think about to have a successful speech.
Two of the most important things to remember are to share about your relationship with the groom primarily and also share a glowing impression of the bride, why you think they are great for one another, and your support for them.
The best man speech is an opportunity to introduce the groom to the wedding guests in a way they might not have the opportunity to do otherwise. This speech has a special place in the wedding. Remember that most wedding guests are meeting one another for the first time. Even if many people know one another, the groom will likely meet many of the bride’s guests for the first time and vice versa.
The best man has the opportunity to add some humor and have fun introducing the groom to the guests in a way that only they can. Of course, the Maid of Honor will have the same opportunity to do the same for the bride.
But the best man speech is not something you want to jump into no matter how well you know the bride and groom or how good of a speech giver or storyteller you are. You will want to prepare yourself as best as possible. People will notice that you put time, thought, and effort into your amazing speech.
When you’re preparing to give your best man speech, try to give yourself time to prepare, including doing some light research, practicing your speech, and getting as much input as necessary. This might sound crazy, but you may need to interview a few people. Don’t let the word interview be intimidating. By this, we mean you may want to speak with some people to know your bride or groom other than you to find out
Looking Your Best
One of the easiest ways to prepare for your best man speech is to look your best. Remember, at some point during the wedding reception, traditionally, you will have all eyes on you during this speech. When your attire is top-notch, people will notice before you even say a word. Believe it or not, this will also enhance how people hear your speech.
If you have a very well-received speech, what you wear will add to your overall presentation. People may not say it, but they will undoubtedly think, “Wow, his speech was amazing, and he also looked spectacular!” So, your effort to look your best will not go to waste or be in vain.
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Knowing Your Groom
The best man’s relationship with the groom is the bread and butter for the best man’s speech. The best man will surely know details and stories about the groom that only he will know. The key is to share what is appropriate. There’s nothing wrong with even running by your speech with the groom.
Sure, you may want to keep some things a surprise to make him laugh. Just be sure that everything you share is far from inappropriate. Although you and your friends may enjoy some great stories, remember that parents, grandparents, and other family members may receive those stories differently. It’s best to keep it as clean as possible when sharing those details about the groom.
As your best friend or one of your closest friends, this may be not easy, but for perspective, remember that this day is for everyone to enjoy together. People are getting to know one another and enjoy the wedding events to celebrate and support the couple with their presence and gifts. The last thing we want to do is to take away from that with our words. Keeping it light and simple is always a good idea in this case.
Knowing the Audience
One thing that will strengthen your best man speech is knowing who is in the audience and who they are. When you tell specific stories that include someone not in the room, it loses some strength.
Try to tell a story that includes mostly people who are in attendance. If necessary, you can even try to find out ahead of time if those people will be in attendance, or more realistically, think about those who are most likely to attend and not cancel their RSVP. For example, you can be pretty sure that one of the siblings of the bride or groom will be in attendance, and certainly the parents, unless something unusual happens.
Keeping Everyone Involved
There’s nothing wrong with giving shoutouts and keeping everyone on their toes during the best man speech. That means you may want to mention some names of those in the room. You can share names that most people will be familiar with, starting with the couple but maybe including the groom’s parents or brothers and sisters.
If there’s a well-known story that everyone knows, that’s gold for the best man speech. But a great, well-known story is an excellent way to keep everyone’s attention because people’s nature is to wonder if their name will be next. They will also be more engaged if what you’re sharing is familiar.
Reading the Room
This tip is more for the advanced speech giver, but you will want to pay attention to the audience and make adjustments if necessary. For example, if you notice that time is getting short for the reception, or better yet, if the wedding planner asks you to please be sure to stick to your time, or if possible, shorten your time slightly, it’s always a good idea to adhere. You want to do your best to keep the couple, wedding planner, and venue happy by not helping to make the event time exceed its allotted time.
Using Your Strengths
One thing to remember when you’re up to deliver your speech is to rely on what you do best. If you’re excellent at telling stories, do that. If you can remember intricate details about situations you think everyone will enjoy, especially about the groom, do that. If you have an unusually sophisticated sense of humor, rely on those strengths. If you feel like you know the wedding party well, rely on telling stories interwoven through the audience.
But if you need to stick to the basics and show love and support to the couple, do that. But everyone has strengths in some area, even if they are unaware of them. Try to find them so that you can give the best speech possible, which will be appreciated and remembered. Of course, delving into an area that is not natural to you will not go well. But if you stick to your strengths, practice, and run it by someone, you will set yourself up for success.
And remember, it’s not about you trying to impress everyone. The guests will enjoy that you love the couple and are genuinely standing to support them on their special day.
One of the signs of a good best man speech is to have smooth transitions between topics. A typical template introduces yourself and describes your relationship with the groom. Then, talk about how everything changed when the groom met the love of his life. Then, talk about why all of the things you know about the groom make so much sense that they would have an excellent relationship together and that you support them not just today but throughout their wonderful new life together.
But the best thing to do with transitions is to talk each point out from one to the next and let it make sense before you share it with everyone else. The best you can stick with the same story, which is their love for one another, the better.
Giving the Best Man Speech
It’s time to give your best man speech. Things to keep in mind when giving your speech are that this is a celebration. Everyone is in a good mood because they are at one of the most celebrated events. That means that most of the work has been done for you. You don’t have to convince everyone to smile; you are just maintaining the mood that has already been set by the atmosphere already created. Hopefully, this will help you not to think you have so much work to do when it comes to giving your speech.
Before you start, stand up and either give your speech from your chair at the head table or find your way to the DJ stand or the designated place where speeches are given. The DJ is often an excellent source to cue where you should stand for your speech. If you don’t get direction from the DJ, the wedding planner or one of their assistants should let you know where you will stand.
Remember to introduce yourself and then continue with your speech very briefly. One of the biggest challenges is that you will do several tasks in a short period of time: introduce yourself, introduce the couple, most likely share a story, and proclaim your support to them. This may not sound like much, but how people digest and process information may have them thinking about who you are before they can move on to the next point.
You may not have much time to speak, but remember to speak slowly and clearly and keep eye contact. You don’t need to feel like you have to keep eye contact with everyone in the room but keep eye contact with someone. Primarily direct your attention to the couple, the wedding party, and guests. They will not feel neglected if you don’t make eye contact with every person in the room.
One of the most important things is to keep to your time slot. The best man’s speech does not need to be long. Five minutes is plenty of time, but if you have permission and have an excellent, strong speech, closer to 7 minutes or more may be appropriate. But you want to remember that several other people will also be speaking, such as the Maid of Honor and perhaps the Father of the Bride or Groom, to provide their speeches and offer a blessing. Think about it this way. You want to try not to have a speech significantly longer than the Maid of Honor and the parent of the bride or groom.
They are the ones who, more than anyone, have the right to be extemporaneous in their speech. If they want to provide something heartfelt, they should have the right to do so. So, all that to say, try to keep within your time and check with the wedding planner so that you know exactly how tight the schedule will be for the reception. All of this will help you to be successful in delivering your speech.
Pro Tip: Set your timer or Apple Watch to 5 minutes or your desired time. That way, you can start wrapping up no matter where you are at 5 minutes or the time you choose.
Don’t Forget To Laugh
We can’t uncerscore enough how important humor is in giving your speech. We touched on this in the using your strengths section, but even if you don’t consider yourself a comedian, you can still tell a story everyone in the room knows to be funny. In other words, if necessary, rely on funny rather than trying to be funny. But in either case, it’s important to use humor because it helps people to feel relaxed. Until the DJ opens up the dance floor, people will look for a reason to loosen up and enjoy this special occasion. A well-placed joke might be just what everyone needs to enjoy themselves.
Keeping on Track
One thing to remember is to keep on the topic. Stick to your script as much as possible. Again, you don’t want to go over time and start to speak from the top of your head. As much as you want to tell stories about you and the groom, it’s essential to support the couple, do your part, and pass it on to the next person. Trust us on this one: if your speech is simple, it will be more appreciated than if you go on too long, even if it is good. Sometimes, an improvised, engaging speech is well received and even welcomed, but for the best man in this space, this is not one of those occasions.
The relevant topics you can discuss in your best man speech include how you met the groom, how much you appreciate him, what he means to you, and how you will support him. Also, you can describe how the groom changed and was excited to meet the love of his life in the bride. talk about the look in his eye, how he may have done certain things that he never did in his life that let you know he was truly in love.
It’s unnecessary to talk about the couple’s challenges in their relationship or anything negative. This is not a tell-all. This is a speech with a particular purpose. Yes, you want to share your love and support as a friend with everyone. But it’s more of a primer than a full-fledged story.
That’s it! You’ve delivered your well-thought-out, researched, heartfelt, well-written speech with smooth transitions. Now that you’ve kept it short and sweet, you must land it without much fanfare. There is no pressure here; you can end the speech with your well wishes. When you do so, remember to do something essential. Remember to look the couple in the eye and address them together. At this point, they are married. You are telling them both that you pray all the best for their life together, that they may love one another more and more each day, and that God may richly and extraordinarily bless them just for them.